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Massachusetts has more hate groups than any other New England state: Report

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center's most recent annual "Hate Map," 12 hate groups exist in Massachusetts.
white nationalist, kkk protest, racism, virginia protest, charlottesville
White nationalist protesters surrounded a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and brandished torches in protest of the removal of Civil War-era relics. Twitter/@Surtrson

After white supremacist gathered in Charlottesville, Va., institutions of all kinds are clamping down on hate groups, from domain providers to PayPal.

But just how much of a concern are hate groups, especially here in New England?

The Southern Poverty Law Center has a “hate map” on which it tracks all groups deemed of spreading hate in the country.

According to SPLC, 917 hate groups currently operate in the U.S. The organization further breaks down the term “hate group” into multiple categories, based on bigotry, including: anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim, black separatists, Holocaust denial, Ku Klux Klan, neo-Confederate, neo-Nazi and more.

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Massachusetts is home to 12 hate groups, according to SPLC — more than any other state in New England. New Hampshire has the second most with six, Connecticut has five, Maine has three and both Vermont and Rhode Island have one each.

Of the commonwealth’s 12 hate groups, three are classified as “neo-Nazi” groups. Two of those,in Cambridge and Lowell, are listed as chapters of The Daily Stormer, most well known as a neo-Nazi and white supremacist news website.

The Daily Stormer promoted the Charlottesville rally and attacked the victim Heather Heyer. Following that incident, domain provider GoDaddy said that it would no longer host the site.

The other neo-Nazi group identified by SPLC in Massachusetts is Gallows Tree Wotansvolk Alliance. A leader of a Michigan branch of that group recently took to local media to deny any Nazi association.

Other Massachusetts groups include the racist skinhead Aryan Strikeforce, anti-LGBT Mass Resistance and Abiding Truth Ministries, anti-Muslim ACT for America.

The Nation of Islam (in Boston and Springfield), Israel United and Christ (in Boston) and All Eyes on Egipt Bookstore (in Dorchester) are also listed as being “black separatist” groups.

The last group listed by SPLC is Concerned Citizens and Friends of Illegal Immigration Law Enforcement, under the category “general hate.” The brothers who run CCFIILE have disputed being represented as a hate group, according to Metrowest Daily News. The paper also reported that the group has held rallies in Framingham to “protest document fraud and has blamed illegal immigrants for some of the town’s problems.”

That isn’t the only group that has taken issue with its placement on the SPLC list. Brian Camenker, executive director of Mass Resistance, has spoke out multiple times against his group’s inclusion, telling Metrowest that “We’re not a hate group. We simply have a political position they don’t like,” and adding that “We’re a pro-family group and we expose things that the gay movement does.”

He also recently told the Boston Globe that, “The SPLC’s lurid tactics have been discredited across the political spectrum. They call almost every major conservative and pro-family group in the country a ‘hate group.’”

Following the November 2016 election that named Donald Trump as the country’s 45th president, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey set up a hotline to report hate crimes and harassment.

As of February, NPR reported, that hotline received about 250 “substantive reports,” half of which occurred in November. 

 
 
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